Last month I had to write a case study on an integrated marketing campaign and I chose Burberry because I’m obsessed. I had so much fun writing that paper and doing research that I actually went over the assigned 1500 words by another 1200 – oops. I think that’s the most revealing anecdote when it comes to my love of the inherently British brand, so when friends come from across the pond, I like to impress (and satisfy my inner fan girl) by proposing a quick spot of tea at the Regent Street flagship store. I’ve been a few other times, telling myself I’ll just get tea and winding up with some morsels because why not? This time, I met my friend from back home and when we were presented with the afternoon tea menu, we agreed to share as neither of us was feeling particularly hungry (afternoon tea is v filling). I’ve done afternoon tea at Brown’s Hotel, the Savoy, Sketch, the Cellarium at Westminster and the Sanderson, but Burberry has to be the best, especially for the price.
Listen, if you love or appreciate any of the campaigns Burberry does, the flagship is the place for you. Burberry has done some incredible digital and traditional marketing around their Regent Street store, so it’s always a treat for me to walk in and see the displays while watching the runways playing on massive screens. Everyone in the store is super friendly, even as I was solely wearing H&M and Old Navy, but none of that mattered because while I couldn’t afford the raincoat of my dreams, I could afford a pot of tea.
We were graciously shown to Thomas’s Cafe, a serene section of the store tucked behind a lovely spiral staircase. We opted for seating upstairs for the views of busy tourists and Londoners making their way around the shops, but downstairs is a lovely, intimate and more dimly lit alternative. My friend ordered their standard tea – a Darjeeling reserve that pairs so nicely with their sandwiches and cakes – and I ordered a soy latte. The latte was nothing special, but it helped my mid-afternoon slump and when I later had tea FOMO, our waitress brought me a new cup and just refilled the previous pot (no extra charge #blessed).
The clear teapot was beautiful, the wooden tea timer was refined and the teacups were the perfect size/shape for enjoying a warm drink on a cool day (seriously, how did they make a plain white cup so perfect???). A simple, gold-framed tray was brought out before the food arrived and I was already impressed. Had the food been terrible, I would have praised the beauty of our spread to anyone willing to listen.
We had three sandwich options (one slice each) on the bottom tier: egg and mayo, cucumber and cream cheese (maybe, I forgot what the spread actually was?) and salmon with cream cheese. The top tier had five mini cakes that we split down the middle: a classic Victoria sponge, a rhubarb custard tart, a thin cracker with a moussey chocolate fudge, a lemon drizzle sponge cake, and a Victoria sponge-esque cake covered in fondant. I honestly can’t choose which was my favourite and that’s a first; I usually only like one or two of the sweet options at afternoon teas BUT I LOVED ALL OF THESE. We ended our tea with clotted cream, jam and two scones: one plain and one with raisins. All of this was only £32!!!! Including one pot of tea that yielded two cups. AMAZING.
I’ve done a few of the £50 teas and while they’ve been enjoyable, I have to give Burberry credit for the absolute best afternoon tea yet. Every single item of food was delicious and nothing was too sweet or too savoury. I think the only thing missing is a wider selection of teas (Sketch and the Sanderson do lovely and interesting tea flavours), but whatever! You can’t go wrong with a classic black tea IMO. The other thing about the pricier afternoon teas is that you can order however many more teas, cakes and sandwiches as you want, but I often only order more because I want to make the most of my precious £50. I was a bit skeptical about how filling a £32 afternoon tea would be, especially when split, but we were so full afterwards! It probably helped that we already had lunch earlier, but I think it would have been perfect regardless. Plus, the more tea you drink, the more full you feel you are at the end of it.
I didn’t have very high expectations for the Thomas’s Cafe afternoon tea, but I’m so glad we decided to order it. We had the best time and were so giddy (the Afternoon Tea Effect) and everything about the experience was perfect. The cafe is open and airy, simple and beautiful, spacious and well-decorated. Nothing about Thomas’s Cafe is too fancy or unapproachable, but it maintains the class and decorum of its more expensive counterparts. The waiting staff was extremely attentive and helpful, explaining the cafe’s offerings and willing to meet our requests. I’ve been to teas where the waiting staff can seem cold and make you feel silly for asking for milk or sugar, but we were lucky to receive kind eyes and smiling faces that were all so accommodating (and charming). I will never understand why cramped spaces and upturned noses make up most of the fancy restaurants, but I think Burberry were really smart to make their space as inviting and simply chic as possible. I say save £20 and go to Burberry for an afternoon tea that you can split with a friend or totally have on your own and leave feeling completely spoiled.